Small businesses are projects of passion and realized dreams. They are built from the ground up with blood, sweat, tears, and that hard-earned-and-barely-enough capital (or loan). But the time you open your doors for your clients and cut the proverbial (or literal) ribbon, the battle for survival has only begun. After the honeymoon phase is over, keeping your customers interested and reeling in new ones is round-the-clock work that involves repetitive cycles of emails, content management, lead reports, and promotional offers.
Marketing automation, when used correctly, can spare you and your team the exhaustion of doing everything manually, and helps give you time and space to do other important tasks.
Wouldn’t it be just perfect if you have someone who can deliver personalized content to your targeted audience, send customized email correspondence to interested prospects in flawless timing, produce reports that determine the status of your marketing efforts, and overall improve customer retention and increase revenue all at the same time?
That someone is a something, and that something is marketing automation in a nutshell. It, however, goes beyond simply purchasing software and letting it do 100% of the work. It always pays to do your homework before making an informed decision and knowing this essential information about marketing automation will help you zero in on how you can maximise its functions, and have it work to your business’ advantage.
1. Marketing automation isn’t just about blasting emails to clients.
While email communications play a huge part in the whole process, marketing automation isn’t limited to just flooding your prospects’ inboxes in the hopes of getting a percentage of them interested enough to avail of your services.
The entire system consists of steps that start with piquing the curiosity of a specifically targeted audience, nurturing your relationship with them, providing useful, quality content that increases their interest and providing offers that will convert what was just curiosity into actual sales.
And it doesn’t end there. With an effective marketing automation system in place, your business can do just more than make that one sale with one shopper. It helps attract old clients back, encourage repeat purchases, and provide personalized customer service that will turn unhappy consumers around and back into your pool of clientele.
2. It eliminates manual, repetitive marketing and sales work.
Every business owner’s dream scenario includes a rising number of sales and a rising number of patrons. Small ventures, however, almost always consist of limited staff power, and the redundancy of personally responding to emails, repeatedly calling up customers for follow-ups, and maintaining relationships with a high density of clientele can be downright inefficient, not to mention unnecessarily exhausting.
Marketing automation helps avoid staff burnout by taking care of warming up leads and sending out relevant and personalized content to prospects, and getting them sales-ready before your team has to pick up the phone. With the bulk of the initial work out of their hands, there’s more opportunity for your people to come up with a lot more creative campaigns to promote your business, and more time interacting with clients who are already committed to buying your product or availing of your services.
3. It personalizes your campaign based on what your customers need and want.
Randomness in the content of your emails will make your customers feel like sheep being herded by a poorly-trained border collie.
It’s a horrible business practice to just keep blasting people with a deluge of information that they may need, praying that one or two out of hundreds will actually want what is being thrown their way. Aside from it being inaccurate, doing so will cause annoyance and, in effect, resentment towards your brand. No one wants to spend time weeding out and deleting an irritating onslaught of unwanted emails, right?
Marketing automation avoids this by sending personalized content to the prospects, based on how they interact with your business site—and all in precise timing. People may not be convinced to buy your product right away, but with the right campaign drip in their inboxes, you can gradually steer them in the right direction and get that sale.
4. It nurtures and gradually turns cold leads into warm leads.
It’s so easy to browse through competing brands and weigh one product or service against the other. So naturally, most prospects’ initial interest in your business don’t immediately translate to sales.
When your venture is fighting to stay on top of the game, it’s important to be able to reel in those curious potential clients and be able to hold their attention until they make a decision to spend their money on you. Marketing automation helps you do that with multiple clients at a time, by funneling these prospects into the appropriate campaigns that provide them with a series of relevant, personalized content that responds to their needs. Once these cold leads (mildly interested, not sales-ready clients) receive such content and turn into warm leads (very interested, sales-ready clients), your sales team will be prepared to take over and make that purchase happen.
5. Reports and statistics help you determine which part of your campaign works.
Your marketing teams’ efforts to draw in interest may determine the numbers of your sales—and it’s crucial that you know what works, and what doesn’t.
Marketing automation provides you with an in-depth, accurate report of how your targeted audience responds to what you put out there: how many links are clicked, how many go beyond the landing page, how many emails are ignored—among other factors.
Being able to pinpoint the weak link in your marketing work—with precise numbers and statistics to back it up—can guide your team on how to engage your customers more, avoid prospect pitfalls, and increase not just traffic, but in turn, sales.
6. Quality content is a huge factor in a successful marketing automation system.
Automated marketing systems provide the right kind of information to the right kind of audience at the right time—but what gets delivered to your prospects’ inbox essentially comes from you.
Customers won’t know that you have a superb product and top-notch service if it doesn’t reflect on what they see or read on their inbox. Creating quality content may take time, effort, and talent, but it’s an investment that will help you put your best foot forward and encourage engagement.
Remember: customers know when they’re being given the run-around, so don’t waste their time with sub-par content.
7. It reels previous customers back.
The ultimate goal of any business is to provide a service so good to clients, they’ll keep coming back. One of the best ways to encourage them to continuously patronize your product is to make sure they keep you in mind.
Marketing automation helps you do just that by sending more relevant, timely and even seasonal content to customers and providing promotional offers that will make them feel that you care for them as an individual, rather than just one out of thousands of patrons. Once they feel that they matter to a business, they wouldn’t feel the need to look somewhere else.
8. It helps restore client confidence.
As much as we’d like to think that everyone who comes through our business doors goes out happy and satisfied, this simply isn’t always the case. Whether it’s an isolated mishap with the products or any complaint with the service provided them, it’s important to be able to address any concern and, if done right, get them to trust your brand again.
If you have to go through thousands of emails, it’s all too possible to let some of this correspondence slip through the cracks—especially when your team is too overwhelmed with customer communications.
With the efficiency of marketing automation, you’ll be able to sort through client feedbacks and see how they respond to your product, without letting any of it go unnoticed. Being able to respond to your customers in a timely manner lets them know that their satisfaction is important to you and that you care about their concerns.
9. Upselling, cross-selling, cycle-selling.
One of the biggest advantages of marketing automation is being able to encourage clients to move up and beyond that one-time purchase.
It allows you to promote a leveled-up version of your service so they can upgrade their customer experience (upselling), provide them with other products related to their needs and wants (cross-selling), and turn them into repeat clients with seasonal offers and other goods that they will want to avail of again and again (cycle-selling). By keeping track of your patrons’ purchasing habits and being able to respond to those habits, you are assured of brand loyalty and recall.
10. Affordable marketing automation software is made available for small businesses.
With its impressive efficiency, most small business owners would assume that marketing automation is only for the big wigs of the industry.
The good news is that there are marketing automation systems that are specially designed for small ventures—and they come with terrific support service that will help you maximize the technology with their business development expertise and resources.
A more productive staff and happier clientele—who doesn’t want that? Marketing automation, when used correctly, can eliminate all the repetitive work and help boost your sales with fewer overtime hours. With a system like this in place, your small business won’t just keep up with the competition—it can surpass them.